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Indianapolis 500 Mile Race
May 29, 2011
Usually, I go to the track really late on race day.  But
today I had a pit and garage pass, so I wanted to get
there early.

But I awoke late, had a lot of things to get done and
then my dog Ringo got really sick.  Why is it my dogs
only get sick on race day???

ET meanwhile was going crazy thinking we were going
to miss the entire show.

The TV showed all this mud in the coke lot and I
decided against taking the Vette.

We finally departed after 11 am.  

I decided to take a different path today.  I went east
to 65, then north to 30th Street.  

I encountered zero traffic!  

I tried pulling into the North 40, but was stopped and
ordered to turn around.  I ended up parking right
across the street for $25.  

After I got out of the car, the stealth bomber flew
overhead.
As we walked the half-mile to the track, we could hear the various
songs leading up to the start and saw the balloon release.  

We entered the first stands we came to - the North Vista.  We
climbed up a few rows and saw the last parade lap and the start!

Today I brought a cooler of beer, my good camera, and a seat cushion.
After the first caution, we headed over to our NW Vista
Deck seats, section 13, row A.

I was concerned that the weather was going to be a scorcher
today.  However, it turned out great with this big wind so
that I never got hot at all!

The race was pretty uneventful with very few caution periods.

Danica Patrick lead some laps.
VIEWS FROM THE NORTH VISTA

The end was quite memorable, which was fortunate as this
was the 100th anniversary of the Indy 500, whose first
race was in May of 1911.

A rookie, JR Hildebrand was leading the race with Ganassi
drivers Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti right behind him.

Both Ganassi cars ran out of gas!  (Penske cars didn't even
figure into it today.)
There was a world record jump before the race, which I missed.
You can see the vehicle that was used at the bottom of the ramp.
It was a successful jump, piloted by Tanner Faust.
A panarama from NW Vista Section 13
Ed Carpenter
Bertand Baguette
Helio Castroneves
Ana Beatriz
JR Hildebrand
The Rookie that almost won it
Danica Patrick
John Andretti
Tony Kanaan
The Winning Car - Dan Wheldon
Above and below - The "Side by Side" Restart
Scott Dixon
Dario Franchitti
Davey Hamilton
Vitor Meira
As JR zoomed around the track, hoping his gas
held out, he came upon the slower car of Charlie
Kimball in the last turn.  He knew that Dan
Wheldon was charging up behind him.  He chose to
try to pass Kimball and in doing so, he slammed
into the wall at the exit of Turn 4.  
As usual, we hung out for a long time after the race
was over.

Young people came around and collected the rented
seat cushions.

A guy with quite a bit of guts (or not much sense) came
by us as he was taking down the flags.  For the flag
that was by the steps up to the deck, he had to climb
up the step fence and then stretch far to the outer
fence and pulled himself up to take down the flag.  I
figure that flag is worth about $10 and if he'd have
slipped backward, he'd likely have broken his neck, and
if he'd slipped forward, he would surely have died.  
He should have been tethered.
JR Hildebrand slammed into wall in last turn
and begins slide down front straight.
(Charlie Kimball, a lap down, is nearby)
As Hildebrand slides, you can see Dan Wheldon coming up fast from behind.
Wheldon, even closer now, passes
Hildebrand before the finish line
to win his 2nd Indy 500
DAN WHELDON WON!
The Party Is Over

We slowly made our way out to 30th street and my car.
We dropped the top and slowly made our way down 30th
Street.  ET popped in a heavy metal CD.

Once I was on I-65, the traffic was normal.

I had almost made it to 465 when a cop came up on me really
fast.  I was in the fast lane going over 80.  I thought I was
busted, but I moved over and he shot by me.  Whew!
He must have been doing 90 or 100.  

Back home, we watched the Monaco F1 race that I had
recorded from this morning.  Sebastian Vettel won it for Red
Bull.
Looking Left at Turn 3
Looking Right at Turn 4
Looking straight ahead ... Big ass ramp
Looking toward Turn 4
Looking toward turn 3
North Short Chute
Turns 3 & 4
North Short Chute
Front Straight
Buddy Rice
Alex Lloyd
I sat next to a cool guy from South Carolina.  This was his 1st
Indy 500.  Wow, what great seats to get on your first trip to
Indy.   In my 30+ years of coming to the race,  this is the
first time I have had deck seats.
(Deck seats are a two-row raised set of bleachers above
certain corner grandstands.)
I didn't have anyone standing in my way - an unobstructed
view!
<-----  The Deck
No Fear
There was also a fly-over after the race ended.
DAN'S PHOTO JOURNALS